Farmers are now counting their losses in the Upper-Berbice district (Region 10), as their farms are severely inundated and have since plunged farmers into a depressed state, more so that they are only now recovering from the rippling effects of COVID-19 and the closure of RUSAL.
Jean Williams, a farmer and logger residing in Hururu, said the farmers in his community were hit hard by the flood waters. “There are about 13 to 15 farms that are under water. Aside from logging which is now on the decrease, farming is presently our only alternative income and we are pleading with the regional officials and the government to render some form of assistance to us; it can be a loan, grant or any other means in pushing us to sustain our families,” Williams told INFO 10.
The community’s main access road is converted to a pool. Residents, particularly children, are now exposed to waterborne diseases as a result of pit latrine waste escaping into the waters.
The flooded communities of Kwakwani Waterfront and Lamp Island are also under water for the fifth consecutive year. The flood water is now approximately now five feet and continues to rise with the current May/June rain.
The Kwakwani Neighborhood Democratic Council (KNDC) reportedly submitted three reports to the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) and the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) relative to the flooding.
According to Cassie Hohenkirk, Overseer of KNDC, they have delivered 51 flood relief items to the residents of Kwakwani, while CDC took additional relief to residents in villages along the Upper-Berbice River last week.
Hohenkirk said farmers in the vicinity of Lamp Island were forced to reap their produce in its early stages. It’s now impossible for farmers to gain access to their farms.
The water on the main thoroughfare to the Kwakwani Waterfront from central park (Waterfront road), is increasingly rising, forcing motorists to use an alternative route with an additional $300.00 to the customary $200.00 taxi fare.
81-year-old Venus Thomas said, ” It’s over 35 years I am in this, I have already taken my farm to higher grounds. The only thing is the $500.00 transportation cost to draw my pension and purchase ration,” Thomas explains.
Kwakwani Utilities Inc, provided households with overhead tanks with purification tablets, since accessing potable through the taps are now impossible.